Butterfly Stool
by Sori Yanagi - Vitra Design Museum


Artist/Designer: Sori Yanagi
b. 1915 - 2011 Tokyo
Title: Butterfly Stool
Medium: Bent plywood, Rosewood, brass
Dimensions: 15.25"h x 16.5" x 12.25" 
Manufacturer: Produced by the Vitra Design Museum. Designed 1954-56. (This version circa 2002). Still in production.
Details: Brand new in original packaging. Assembled only for this photo.  
Notes from the Archive: It's amazing to imagine at the time this stool was designed, seating furniture did not exist in Japanese culture. Traditionally one sits on the floor on a tatami mat. As a young man, Yanagi was chosen as a translator to accompany Charlotte Perriand, the French architect and designer, on her travels in Japan.  She was invited by the Japanese Secretary of Commerce and Industry to consider design in an Eastern orientation. This is most likely the source of Yanagi's interest in furniture. 
Yanagi used the plywood molding technique made famous by the Eameses to mass produce the stool originally at the Tendo Makko Company in Japan. Here two identical forms attached in opposing ways using a threaded rod as a connector, to create a traditional Japanese form resembling the wings of a butterfly. In 1957, the stool was awarded the gold medal at the Milan Triennale. The Butterfly stool is in numerous museum collections, including MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and SFMOMA.
Shipping Notes: Stool may ship disassembled in original box, or assembled if requested. Free shipping included in the continental US. Please contact us for international shipping arrangements.
Related Products: Elephant Stool by Sori Yanagi
sign up to receive exclusive updates from

the modern archive

here’s some of what you’ll get